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An Old Story Drives Me to be A Tour Guide

By Alanconda

Today is May 12, but first of all, I would like to say Happy belated birthday for Dr. Birute MF. Galdikas. It should be 2 days ago, but my wish for her has no time limit. I hope you have a prosperous and happy life. Thanks for your dedication over 49 years for Orangutan research and conservation in Tanjung Puting National Park.

Since I was a little kid, I was blessed to have loving parents and lots of family members that love me. My aunts loved to carry me a way to go the market or boutique. My uncles usually took me to go to the garden, to do some fishing, or just walking around the block. He is one of my uncles who as an official guide of National Park. He always took me a way to go places that different from my daily things to see in my neighborhood. I remember He invited me to go to someone’s house in Pasir Panjang -a small village in the middle of the way to go to the airport from my town Kumai. A village of mostly Dayak people live on, Indigenous people of Kalimantan. It was my couple of ooohs and aaaahs moment of my life. 

Alanconda on duty as Orangutan Eco Tour Guide in Tanjung Puting NP

 We went by motorcycle through a sandy path with tons of trees on the sides, kind of giving me a vibe of a jungle. We arrived in front of the beautiful big white house. I remember in my head I was like, “wow, this is a rich person’s house”. The reason why I thought that, was because back then, most houses in my hometown were built by wood as the materials. Only the richest people made concrete buildings. We were welcomed by the tall woman which also made me fascinating at the first glance because she has whiter skin color than my uncle and I. I saw white people from TV before and but seeing them in person was my first time. I remembered I was so nervous to answer all of her basic English questions to a kid like me who was starting to learn English. I learned it from my uncle, such as, “hi”, “What is your name”, “How are you” etc. They continued by making conversation which I guessed was the real purpose why my uncle went to her house. I was listening focusly to what they were saying. But unfortunately, I knew nothing most of the words. I realized that I need to learn English with him more because of this. She then asked my uncle if I already ate my breakfast or not. I was quitely said no to my uncle. And hearing that she began to prepare me with another surprise. She served me a plate of toasted bread with Sausage on the side and orange juice. Again this was no ordinary breakfast for me cause as Indonesian we eat rice and sides (can be chicken, beef, seafood, egg, tofu, etc) every day. By giving me this meal, it was a delightful surprise and also a lesson to learn that in other countries they do not eat rice in every meal. A wide smile was on my face the whole time. On my way back home, then I kept on wondering if he would take me again to other new places. 

These were my childhood memories which strongly impactful to me on building my love of the English language and foreigners. It surely did lit a fire under me to learn English early on and set a goal for myself that I want to be like him, a Tour Guide. Lots of people saying to me why do you want to be a guide when you can choose to be this or that which will give you more money than being a Tour Guide. I said to them that everybody has their own goal, dream, and passion. What the point of being this and that when you do not enjoy and no love on it? Some do understand some do not, but who am I to be bothered by it. Now That I am A Tour Guide in Tanjung Puting National Park. I can honestly say that I love every second of it. I am living my dream job and not everybody can say that out loud.

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